Return to Walking

Everyone knows how much their favourite canine companion loves to go for a W-A-L-K and walking is essential for maintaining cardiovascular fitness.  However, walking also causes high levels of friction through the joints so in the early stages of rehabilitation, walking too far or too fast can do more harm than good.

For this reason, we encourage everyone to return to walking very gradually.  Below we’ve outlined our own program that makes it easy and safe for you and your furry friend to build up to your normal walking distance.

In the early days following surgery or an injury, dramatic changes are taking place in the affected muscles, bones and joints. During this time, all outdoor exercise should be done on leash.  Unrestrained exercise during this important healing period may affect the long term use of the leg so please, keep your best friend on a lead, even when going to the toilet. 

Walking Program

  1. Walks can begin the day after your pet has been given the go-ahead by your physiotherapist or vet.
  2. Your first walk should be approximately 200m (or 5 houses in your average suburb).
  3. Walk slowly and always on-leashWalking slowly encourages stepping correctly and decreases the chance of your pet overdoing it.
  4. Increase the distance by 20m or 1 house each day.

STOP the walking program and consult your vet or physiotherapist if:

  • your pet becomes more lame during the walk;
  • you notice they are more lame, stiff or reluctant to move following walking that day; or
  • they are more lame, stiff or reluctant to move the day following walking.

Ongoing Rehabilitation

After 8 weeks of this walking program, you and your dog will be walking just under 1km, but should not be walking any further.  This is an excellent point to have your physiotherapist reassess your pet so that we can provide your pet with an individual physiotherapy program to enhance your pet’s recovery.

Who are we?

Dr Helen Nicholson has both Masters and PhD degrees in animal physiotherapy. She is passionate about bringing the benefits of physiotherapy that are felt by humans across the world to our furry friends and helping their families to discover how fun physio can be!

Our experienced team has many techniques available to show you, either in one of our Sydney centres or via telerehab with Skype.


One thought on “Return to Walking

  • I love getting to see animals back on their feet (or paws!) after surgery or some kind of similar event. We are thinking that we will need to have our dog undergo surgery as well, and we will remember these types. It probably won’t be too difficult to keep her on her leash until much later after surgery is done. Great article.


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